Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton is not hugely happy with his race starts so far in the 2019 F1 season after another poor one in Bahrain GP.
A slow start in Australian GP cost Hamilton the lead to Valtteri Bottas which eventually was the decisive factor in his loss. Another of the same in Bahrain GP, he lost out to Bottas again, who went on to clear Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc for second.
He eventually got past Bottas a few laps down but should his race starts continue to be a hindrance, it may help his rivals as the season progresses. Race starts has been a problem for Hamilton off-late – something his former teammate Nico Rosberg mentioned as well.
The British racer is certainly aware of the issue and has mentioned it as well multiple times that he is working on it – which is why he was left disappointed that the improvements he tried to make didn’t work out in Bahrain eventually.
“At the start [of Bahrain GP] I was hopeful to leapfrog at least one of the cars and in my opportunistic mind I was thinking to jump both of them at the start,” he said. “But I got a terrible start once again, which is a bit disappointing.
“I’ve put a lot of work in to try and improve my starts, but it was another case of you fall down and you just keep going, and get back up. I’ll keep trying [to work on it].” The way the things stand, race starts seems the only thing Hamilton needs to worry about.
Having got back up and running, Hamilton was able to use the asphalt and undercut to gain on Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel in the race and not only attacked him but was able to pass him as well to gain track position – which eventually turned out in a Bahrain GP win.
“As the race progressed, it looked like I could keep up with at least one of the Ferraris,” he said. “The second stint on the soft tyre was horrible [though] as we fell back behind the Ferraris and it looked like we were out of contention for a second or even the win.
“I was just battling this snappy, oversteery car in the winds, which were very tricky out there. And then with the undercut, that was a very exciting moment for me. I definitely didn’t see all that happening when we pulled up to the grid, but I’m grateful for it.”
Although Hamilton lucked into the win, the British racer brought himself in that position after a solid move on Vettel. He admitted it felt bad passing Leclerc in that way but it had to be done as there have been times he had been in the same position.
Moving on to the upcoming races in China and Baku, Hamilton was wary of Ferrari’s straightline speed as he feels that if it continues the way it is, the Mercedes drivers then can only see the back of the red cars mostly.
“I think it’s really difficult to say,” he said. “We’ve only had two races and they’ve been flipside, you know, both sides. One where we were rapid and far ahead and then the other where they were.
“So as always, every season, it takes a good few races before you kind of get a gist of where it all is but I anticipate it’s going to be back and forth between the two of us. If they have this straight speed in the next race then we’ll be watching them disappear.
“But obviously we’re going to be working hard to try and understand where we went wrong this weekend and if we can improve the car but as you can see, reliability is also a very very key important part, so we’ve just got to keep working on all areas.”
Here’s all the numbers from Bahrain GP